In a study conducted on factors that predispose to drinking habits, it has been established that a child's tendency to do things like lie, steal or skip school is what encourages alcohol consumption even at a very early age of 12, 13 or 14.
The study is the first of it's kind to focus on the issue and is a contradiction to the existing assumption that a family history of alcohol dependency predisposes to the drinking habit. The investigation was based on data from nine sites, and children from ages 7 to 17, from families with a high occurrence of alcohol dependence and families without such history were considered for the study.
In order analyze what might predict or precede an early age of first drink, the team analyzed several behaviors and conditions in the study participants' childhoods including attention-deficit hyperactivity symptoms, conduct disorder symptoms (such as fighting, lying, stealing, skipping school), anxiety and depression, and whether each child's parents or other close family members had diagnoses of alcoholism or antisocial personality disorder (aggressive, unpleasant behavior).
From the data gathered, surprisingly it was found out that having a family history of alcohol dependency or anti-social personality disorder did not relate to age of first drink. However, the number of conduct disorder symptoms a child has did relate to the age of first drink.
Infact for each major conduct symptom in a child's life, the age of first drink decreased by about three months according to the researchers.
Previous studies have reported that a family history of alcoholism or antisocial personality disorder relates to an earlier age of first drink. However, it could be because of the fact that such studies did not take into account the additional negative behaviors and conditions included in the current study.